Dermody hits crucial goal as Faithful punish Cats
Offaly and Cork booked their places in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Championship by virtue of play-off victories over Kilkenny and Tipperary on Saturday.
The Cats and Premier County will now play Dublin and Clare this Saturday -- with the final two quarter-final spots up for grabs in those games.
Not for the first time, it was Elaine Dermody who struck the killer blow for Offaly, her 48th-minute goal breaking the Kilkenny resistance on the way to a 2-13 to 1-11 win in Birr.
The hosts got off to a great start with an Arlene Watkins goal after seven minutes, but Kilkenny were buoyed by the wind and the efforts of Katie Power and Miriam Walsh. Power raised a green flag for the Cats, who edged their noses in front to lead by 1-6 to 1-5 at half-time.
With player of the match Siobhan Flannery driving them on from midfield and the half-back line proving irresistible, Offaly edged a point in front when Dermody caught the sliotar, turned and drove a powerful shot to the Kilkenny net.
That gave Offaly crucial breathing space and they held out for a deserved win.
There was nothing like the same flow of scores or play in the Cork versus Tipp encounter in Ballincollig, but it was all about the result for the Rebels against their improving rivals.
Katrina Mackey's first-half goal was the most significant moment in the game, and with Jenny O'Leary adding three points, it gave the home side a 1-4 to 0-4 interval lead.
Nicole Walsh provided all Tipperary's first-half scores from frees and she added another brace after the resumption.
However, Cork had the superior artillery up front, despite goalkeeper Aoife Murray being forced into a couple of outstanding saves.
The excellent Mackey brought her personal tally to 1-4 with three lovely points from play.
O'Leary and Orla Cotter were among those also on the mark to ensure their side's advance to the top six on a 1-13 to 0-9 scoreline.
Wexford and Galway await the winners of the two quarter-finals in the semi-finals.